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preferring it should have a distinct his works,) and that in none of the conception of the means which the acts of his providence does he conAlmighty may adopt to fulfil it. cern himself to promote the spiritual
The prayer of Cornelius was heard, well-being of his creatures. This is and his desire of further light on to go from one dangerous extreine to the subject of religion was satisfied, another; for what can have a greater though he could have no distinct con- tendency to deprive religion of its ception of the means which God influence, than such a view of things would employ for that purpose. Sup- as this, which represents us as strug. pose any devout Heathen of the pre- gling with difficulties and exposed to sent day to fall down and pray to the dangers, in relation to our most im. unknown God, and with a strong portant interests, without being able sense of bis own ignorance to implore to look up to that great Being, on him to enlighten his mind with truth, whom all our hopes depend for help could there be one found so insensible and protection? His spirit, which as to bring against him a charge of pervades every thing and discerns absurdity on that account? And if every thing, is debarreu, it seems, God, in the exercise of his providence, from interposing its energies in behalf should lead him to the knowledge of of creatures, whose iufirmities expose the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is them to constant peril, though they able to make men wise uuto salvation, have before them the prospect of imthis, surely, would be no less an in- mortal life and happiness. stance of divine grace, than if he had On this supposition, too, what actaught him by the ministry of hea. count can be given of the duty of venly angels, or by his own imme. prayer? For why should we be diate operation had inspired liim with called upon to commune with that the knowledge of his truth. So, may Intelligence who surrounds us, unless it not be a rational prayer of every it comes within the scope of his propartaker in Christian privileges, that vidential government to bear a perhe who knows our thoughts, and is sonal relation towards us, as the hearer conscious of every thing that passes and answ
nswerer of prayer? But a thein our minds, would promote the in- ory, which excludes the Divine Being fluence and superiutend the efficacy from so large and important a part of of those means which he has planned his creation, will be found to have its for our instruction in righteousness, origin in narrow and erroneous views and our final admission to glory? of bis nature and perfections. There
Views of this kind, it has been said, is every reason to suppose that he has open the door to every sort of delusion. the dominion equally of the spiritual And it cannot be denied that men and material kingdoms. We, indeed, have often entertained extravagant have no knowledge of mind except and unscriptural notions respecting from its operations; we know little the Divine Influence upon the mind. or nothing of the nature or quality of But we are liable to err on either spiritual existence; and, therefore, hand, by taking a confined view of the operations of mind do not seem this subject. On the one hand, those to us capable of being brought under who maintain the doctrine of Divine the same strict cognizance of Divine Influence,' generally conceive of the Providence as takes place in the maAlmighty as acting upon the mind in terial world: but we may be sure an arbitrary and supernatural manner, that, with respect to God, both de as if he had no fixed rule of proceed. partments of creation are equally and ing in such a case, and was in want entirely known; and, if known, then of proper instruments to effect his guided equally to a good end, by the purposes; and, on the other hand, exercise of divine power, wisdom and those who controvert the notion of goodness, in the formation and mainsensible impulses, sometimes go so tenance of equitable and beneficial far as to give us the impression that, laws. Under this idea of the exteuin their opinion, the Almighty exer- sion of Divine Providence to every cises no controul over the spiritual part of the creation, we ought to repart of his creation, (that is, has no- gard every influence which tends to thing to do with the poblest part of the moral improvement of mankind,
connected with theological specula. I
as the gift of the grace and favour of ance of a friend, and by the constant God, for which we ought humbly perusal of your valuable Miscellavies, and heartily to give him thanks, and I have made out a list of about one for the continuance and extension of hundred and fifty Unitarian, Arian, which we ought to pray, whatever Presbyterian and General Baptist conbe the instrumentality by which this gregations, with the panies of their good intluence may have been exerted. respective ministers: this I shall be
I am aware that this whole view of happy to transfer to any tract society the subject is exposed to objections, or individuals, who may have mean's arising from the difficulty of recon. to acquire such further information ciling the exercise of Divine Provi- as will enable them to furnish the dence with the accountableness of Unitarian public with a correct list of man; but this is a difficulty which, their several places of worship. like the origin and existence of evil, must press equally upon every theory
July 10, 1819.
Do not find in the writings of .
those who have entered into the H. T. controversy concerning the authenti
city of St. Paul's Epistles, that they
Warwick, have paid any attention to the only SIR,
July 13, 1819. argnment, in my opinion, which ought N the List of Congregatioual Sub. to have decided the question long
scriptions to the Unitarian Asso- since: I presume, therefore, to state ciation, (see p. 6 of the Report of the what the inspired apostle has said, to Committee,) I observe our congrega. lead us to the proper proof; and we, , tion is justly mentioned ; but the as Christians, are bound to take his name of our highly-respected minis. sacred word. In his second Epistle ter, Rev. William Field, is by some to the Thessalonians, chap. iii. ver. means omitted. I should not have 17, he says, The salutation by the hand troubled you, Sir, with a correction of of me, Paul, which is my inken (seal this, but from the circumstance, that or mark) in EVERY Epistle. Thus I at this season of the year, a number of WRITE. In examining the other Epis. strangers from all parts of the United tles, I can find this mark or token Kingdom, visit the neighbouring Spa only in the following-1 Cor. xvi. 21: of Leamington; of course, among The salutation of me, Paul, with my them there are many Antitrioitarians, qu'n hand. Col. iv. 18: The salutation and this being the nearest Unitarian by the hand of me, Paul. Gal. vi. 11: place of worship, (a delightful walk Ye see how large an Epistle I have of two miles,) such as are desirous of written to
with my own hand. Phi. paying their adorations to the one lemon, ver. 19: I Paul have written it only living and true God, will most with my own hand. In this last quo. likely be at a loss unless they inquire tation the apostle introduces his name for Mr. Field's chapel.
as much as a pledge for the payment vice commences at eleven in the morn- of a sum of inoney, as a proof of the ing, and six in the evening.
authenticity of bis epistle. J. ARMSTRONG, In no other letters bearing his P.S. I mention the time from the name, do I perceive this essential following suggestion of your Corre- mark or token, which the apostle spondent W. Whitfield, (XII). 305,] makes use of to distinguish his own “ You will, no doubt, be perfectly authentic writings from those which aware of the usefulness of a complete were written in his name, but without list of the Unitarian places of worship his authority: not having his hand in the United Kingdom; the names and stal solemnly pledged for their of the towns in which they are to be authenticity. It was not necessary, found, alphabetically arranged; the perhaps, for tlie apostle to make the name of the chapel, if any; the situa- same solemn asseveratiou in his pri. tion in each town; the name of the rate correspondence with an intiniaie preacher, and the time at which the friend and companion, such as Tidifferent services commence,” &c. mothy was; but in writing to a public
I beg to say that, with the assist, body of Christians, there was great
propriety in so doing. It is singular On the Rer. Samuel Verton's Objecenough that Tertines, who wrote the tions to the Inprored Version Epistle to the Romans, see chap. xvi. 22, should make use nearly of the
LETTER II. same pirase; I Tertius, who wrote this TVIE worthy author of the “TriEpistle, salute you in the Lord: though nitarian's Appeal Defended," he writes in the name of Paul in the baving proved to his own saiisfaction, bevinning of the Epistle, he ends it in and that of his admirers, that do per. his own name; and in no part of it sou is qualified to be a translator of says he had written by the direction the New Testament who is preposor advice of the apostle. From the sessed in favour of any system, unless above circumstances, all those Epis. that system be ihe true orthodox saith, tles which have not the mark or token proceeds of this attestation of Paul, ought to 2. To exercise, I will not say his be considered as of less authority in critical knife, but his critical hate bet, points of doctrine than those which in hewing down the Editors of the have it; as we are assured by the Improved Version without ceremony apostle himself that they proceeded and without mercy; and, I must add, from his own pen. Indeed, this is with an assurance scarcely to be paSt. Paul's argument why we should ralleled. “ What I judge of the not receive any epistle as written by Version," says this prince of critics, him which wants this essential cha- p. 33, "you bave partly seen and shall racteristic, but should only be consi- see further. What are we to judge dered by us as the apocrypha of the concerning those crities who make an new covenant.
archiepiscopal translation of the ScripI should be happy to gain attention tures the basis of their Version, and to this simple statement by any of who in the third page begiu to print your learned Correspondents in your two pages in italies, " &c.;-“concenuvaluable Miscellany, where every sub. ing critics who tell us that part of the ject meets with a candid reception, first, and the whole of the second and is so treated; and the more so, chapter of Matthew are of doubtful it must be acknowledged, as being of authority,” &c.;—“ critics who re80 much importance to the Christian ceive the genealogy, and reject the world, and is by no means exhausted miraculous conception," &c.;-"criby any thing lieretofore written on tics who found their objections upon the subject.
the death of Herod," &c.;" critics Permit me to remark, that I do not who tell us that yirouc. is used seren recollect any one of the writers in the hundred times in the New Testament, Monthly Repository, on the final sal. but nerer in the sense of create?" &c. vation of all meil, to have quoted from &c. And so the gentleman goes ou a work on this subject, published and in the same self-complacent style of printed for Dilly, in the Poultry, in interrogatory through four pages, 1781. It is handled very masterly by scmetinies sta and sometiinės the Author, who is nameless. Its misstating, what the Editors of the running title is, “ Proofs of Universal Improved Version have asserted or Salvation, with Objections answered." assumed, never condescending to exThe Author is, or was an Arian, but amine either their arguments or their this opinion is unconnected with his authorities, and in the end coming to argument. It would be doing an ac- this most satisfactory conclusion: “So ceptable service to the religious world – their general character as critics is if a few of his Scripture proofs could FAIRLY impugned, and we cannot appear in your Miscellany occasion. expect from them a Version, with the ally, especially the Author's proof excellencies which they are pleased from 1 Cor. xv. 24—29, p. 197, which to ascribe to that which they have appears to me, as well as to the Au- published.” thor, to be decisive of itself, were In any writer but the author of the there no other text in all the Bible Trinitarian's Appeal, &c., the above of the like import.
mode of treating the defendants in PUILALETHES. the case would be thought a match
less specimen of vanity and insolence.
But considering that those poor wit- genealogy of Matthew, though the lings, as this writer is pleased to de- Ebionites rejected it. The author of scribe the Editors of the Improved the Appeal, &c., disputes the fact, Version, had no better authority to which in truth is not of the least conplead than that of Locke, who knew sequence whatever. There the genot how to construe a common Greek nealogy stands, at the beginning of sentence, or Dr. Clarke, who was lit- Matthew's history; and there is no tle better, or of Lindsey and Priestley, sufficient reason for rejecting it. But who were flimsy lucubrators, or of what the Editors maintain, and what Sykes, whose authority is not worth cannot be disproved, is this : that the notice, or of Wakefield, who is a lame writer of the genealogy could not be biblical critic, or of Evanson, to whom the historian of the miraculous conit is folly and ignorance to appeal, or ception, for their intentions were of Simpson, who is an obscure referee, directly opposite—the design of one or of Newcome, or of Law, or of being to prove that our Lord de
or of Pierce, or of Hallet, scended from Abraham and David, or of Cappe, and many others, who, because he was the son of Joseph ; in the estimation of this great and and the design of the other being to self-constituted umpire of critical con- prove that Jesus was not the real but troversy, are like the notorious High only the reputed son of Joseph. So Farmer, mere ephemeral insects de that if the history of the miraculous lighting in their own buzz; taking, I conception be true, it would appear say, all these premises into considera. to the Jews that Jesus of Nazareth tion, one cannot but approve of the was deficient in an essential qualifishort work which this supreme judge cation of the promised Messiah, viz. in the high court of criticism, this the descent from David. Bentley of theological erudition, has Now how does our learned divine made with the Editors of the Im- get over this difficulty? In the easiest proved Version, in striking them off and handsoinest way that can be imaat once by summary process, together gined, viz. p. 41, “These men," i. e. with all their authorities aforesaid, by the Editors of the Improved Version, his own sic volo, sic juben, from the suppose what they please, and then rolls of criticism, and consigning them infer the iron obligation of necessity. to their proper place and station There appears indeed to be a necesamong Grub-street vagabonds. sity—a fatal one-in their logic, their
3. In the next Letter, p. 38, the faith and their impudence. The matreverend gentleman suspecting, per- ter is settled, but where? Only in haps, thai, whatever he and his ad- the minds of some prejudiced witlings. mirers might believe, there might be the generality of commentators besome old-fashioned readers who would lieve, and with reason, that Matthew not be quite so easily satisfied with his had no such design in his genealogy brief and fair way of disposing of the as they ascribe to him-he expresses Editors of the Improved Version, himself thus: And Jacob begat Jovouchsafes to descend from his lofty seph the husband of Mary, of whom station into the arena of debate, and was born Jesus, who is called Christ;' condescends to offer his arguments, a most extraordinary way of shewing such as they are, to confute ibe posi- his design to prove that Joseph was tions and reasonings of the Version. the father of Christ." It is quite veedless to enter into the Now, Sir, I am of opinion that general question concerning the mi- there are some persons in the world, raculous conception of Jesus, which and perhaps those impudent witlings lias been so ably discussed, and I the Editors of the Improved Version may say settled by Dr. Priestley, Dr. among the rest, who may be simple Williams, Mr. Pope and Dr. John enough to believe that one of the Jones. I shall, therefore, only touch strongest presumptions that a man is upon one or two points which are the father of a child is, that he is the particularly insisted upon by the au
husband of the mother. This, howthor of the Trinitarian's Appeal, &c. ever, according to the reverend gen
The Editors have stated, upon the tleman, is a most extraordinary mode authority of Epiphanius, that Cerin. of proof. Perhaps he may understand ihus and Carpocrates received the these things better, and may take
son bave referred unt of the death of eir opponents falsely with appealing to Lard. Teing with them in the
propriety in so doing. It is singular On the Rev. Sa
in the miraculous concephe writes in the name of Paul in the ha beginning of the Epistle, he ends it in
JIS writer, as usual, joins in his own name; and in no part of it
of the pack, and with great says he had written by the directio'
Suity be produces Lardner's or advice of the apostle. From $
as a corfutation of the assertion
the Editors, p. 44: “When St. above circumstances, all those F tles which have not the mark or
Lake says, “Now in the fifteenth year
of the reign of Tiberius,' &c., he may of this attestation of Paul, o
intend some computation of the reigo be considered as of less aut'
of Tiberius different from that of his points of doctrine than th
sole empire after the death of Augushave it; as we are assi
tus." He may intend. What! is a apostle himself that th from his own pen.
sus direct assertion of the sacred historian St. Paul's argument
to be set aside by a conjecture even not receive any epi him which wants
not, if of a double computation of Tiberius's
reign, except for the sole purpose of racteristic, but : dered by us as new covenant.
I should be to this simr
is genealogy Empire, but was not known in the your learne
escribe to him." reign of Augustus, and could never valuable denily shewn be applied to Tiberius
, who, it is with reason: plain from Tacitus, was far from being ject mee and is
Let this reverend gentleman now it must so mu worli by the
5. This author, though no great
** have of Dr. Larduer? Who ever dreamed
med gentle cobbling up this great chronological .*** *Mizwmentators difficulty ? This distinction was in
08/23, er Lake relates that Jesus
BERU I the learned, that the argument," and “ wing his little way
Hetu happened seventeen over this lofty mountain" as best be era resurs before that of Au- may. per art.beni It is evident, there. most profound veneration to popular wo turto renulage in the fifteenth friend to argument, bows with the ere, that the birth of Christ happened authority. and will nev vreld to passion aud pre. count of the miraculous conceptiou of Hera. Psies are stubborn things, Improved Version, that “if the at packe: and these dates completely Jesus be true, he could not be the were the whole fable of the mira- offspring of David and Abraham." culous conception. The Editors of How does the author of the Trinita |
It is stated by the Editors of the
over cars after
the death of
rian's Appeal, &c., reply to this plain!
fact? * To me," says he, p. 49, “it . The angel Gabriel is the Holy Ghost. appears sufficient to reply, ihe Chrisbaranli argued by the Rev. Reginald believe, that Jesus was miraculously
Ver this doctrine most learnedly and ela. tian world in general believed and do Heber, in the fourth of his Bampton Lec. conceived, and that he was the off paries later than the stories of triangle culty. The evangelists give the per What would Dr. Wallis and his contem- is an easy way of getting over a diffi la mes. Such is modern Oxonian divinityspring of David and Abraham," This Thas Bishop Burgess even vow of it will be allow that the angel Ga.gree of Joseph to prove that our Lord briel is a person but not a being And
was descended from Abraham and that this nonentity was the father of Jesus David; but the Christian world it Christ? What is Dr. Moysey's opinion ? seems supersede the authority of the Does he believe that the angel Gabriel evangelists: they believe the contrary; includes the whole idea of God and some. they deny that Jesus was the son of
Joseph ; they maintain that Christ